I led design on Google Docs, Sheets, Slides & Forms. I also explored emerging markets and experimental editors.

Role Design Lead
Time 2010 — 2017

Swinging the pendulum towards mobile

Our web experience was the flagship platform, but mobile usage was growing rapidly - especially in emerging markets.

The mobile apps supported significantly fewer features than the web versions, and the experience was randomly different between iOS and Android. You could edit a table on Android, but not add one. You could view hightlighted text on iOS but not edit it.

I designed a palette system for Docs that accomodated the incoming features, and worked with design leads on the other editors to make sure we were consistent.

A selection of updated palettes from Project Neo.

Designing with data

Styling text and working with lists in the mobile editor was harder than it needed to be, and we had the data to prove it.

I gathered stats on the top 10% formatting actions on desktop and compared them to mobile. I then designed a contextual tool strip that appeared above the on-screen keyboard, making popular actions much faster to access.

The toolbar was particularly useful for surfacing secondary options like indentation when inside of a list.

After launch, documents containing rich formatting increased significantly.

Unlocking productivity

Commenting was very powerful feature, but usage was dissapointlingly low. I suspected it was because discovery and access to the feature was buried.

I designed this feature which appeared near the margin when you hovered in that area, or selected content on the canvas.

After launch, comment usage went up significantly.


I led several initiatives to explore what productivity tools might look like in the future - faster, smarter, better.

While these features didn't launch in this exact format, they influenced other "assistive" initiatives at Google.